It’s been a while since we put together a list of our favorite spooky, but not so spooky read-alouds for children. As always, it’s hard to narrow down our list to five, but here they are in no particular order!
5 More Spooky, But Not-SO-Spooky Halloween Read Alouds for Children
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Witch and her cat are flying around on their magic broomstick when a sudden gust of wind snags witch’s hat…then her bow…then her wand. Thankfully, three animals come to the rescue and help her find the lost items. All they want in exchange for their services is a ride on the broom. What follows is a rhythmically, romping ride for both reader and witch alike. Try saying that ten times fast!
Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe
We’ve recommended this book before, but it’s just so good that we have to talk about it some more.
Just when you thought that the vampire theme had been completely exhausted, Deborah and James Howe came up with this “spooktastic” read-aloud. In Bunnicula, we meet the Toby Monroe and his family, who decide to head to the theatre to see their favorite movie, Dracula. When Toby takes his seat, he accidentally plops himself down on top of a rabbit who is bundled up in the seat.
The Monroes love animals as much as they love horror movies, so what do they do? Why, they adopt the bunny and name him Bunnicula, of course!
But the family pets, Chester and Harold, quickly notice that something is amiss: Why does Bunnicula have pointy fangs, wear a cape, and have nocturnal habits? What happened to the once-red tomato in the kitchen? This read-aloud is as funny and “falltastic” as it is fast-paced. Enjoy!
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
Julia Donaldson certainly owes a great debt to Maurice Sendak's well-loved and well-read book, Where the Wild Things Are. Regardless of whether or not Donaldson is intentionally channeling Sendak, our students have never turned up their noses at The Gruffalo. In fact, it has become one of their all-time favorite Halloween read-alouds. So what’s it about? Here’s the skinny:
Mouse is walking through the woods when he encounters a fox…then an owl…then a snake. Knowing that he would make a tasty treat for these animals, he uses his imagination to create the gruffalo, a monster with “terrible tusks, and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws.”
The three animals never actually see the gruffalo (because he doesn’t exist of course!), but mouse’s description of his imaginary friend is enough to scare these pesky predators away!
Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michael Rex
If your students enjoy Goodnight Moon, they are certainly going to love the Halloween spin Michael Rex puts on that classic with Goodnight Goon!
The story takes place “in a cold gray tomb there was a gravestone and a black lagoon and a picture of Martians taking over the moon.” Werewolf is just settling down for bed, but will Goon and his antics keep him awake all night?
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri
Like candy, tacos and dragons are year-round treats—but we always like breaking out Adam Rubin’s and Daniel Salmieri’s Dragons Love Tacos in October.
How do we begin to describe this little book? Basically, it’s a hilarious and kooky story about what can go wrong when you decide to throw a taco party for dragons. We guarantee that this read-aloud will have your students rolling on the floor.